My wife asked me the other day — why am I writing this blog? Is this just a clever way to vent about some bullshit in my life while I stroke my own ego about how good of a father I’m becoming?
I’m not prone to existential crap like that. I tend to take things at face value. It’s about the damn nail. So I thought about it a bit — was she right?
- This blog is a sounding board.
- This blog is a step down the pyramid toward active fatherhood.
- This blog is a gift to my son.
- This blog is a map of my journey.
- This blog is a commitment to being a father.
A Sounding Board
We often talk about having other people as sounding boards — we talk to them because they help us get our own thoughts straight. I’m not a talker; I’m a writer, and while my wife is an excellent sounding board, it helps me to put it in writing — whatever ‘it’ is.
I’m also the kind of person who is prone to letting stuff slide. If something isn’t obviously wrong, I generally let it go until it is — and while that’s bad enough when that thing is the laundry or the dishes, it’s really epically bad when that thing is someone’s life. So this blog is essentially the place where I get my thoughts organized regarding my relationship with my son. I can’t let it slide.
A Step Down the Pyramid
We read this great book called Mistakes Were Made, but Not By Me, by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. One of the things it describes is how people who are undecided about an issue act, essentially, like they’re on the top of a pyramid. They can be nudged a step down in any direction, but they can climb back up to the top pretty easily — once they get more than a couple of steps down, however, it becomes easier and easier to get committed to heading all the way down in that direction.
This blog is one step down the pyramid — I’d like to think that each post is a step down the pyramid — toward being an active, engaged father instead of “that guy on the computer who sometimes buys me a toy.”
A Gift to My Son
I want my son to read all of this someday. I want him to read it and I want him to understand that I chose him. My wife and I chose, after a decade of living childless together, to have him, because we wanted him. (We knew exactly who he would be, too…more on that in another post.) And while it’s taken me too long to do it, I’ve chosen him over the options of being a disengaged dad. I want him in my life, and I chose to give up whatever it takes to keep him there.
I also want him to be able to look back and hopefully learn from this, if it manages to stick around for as long as it takes for him to get that far in life. The biggest obstacle to your children learning from your mistakes is hiding your mistakes from them. If I do all of this out in the open, maybe it’ll help.
A Map of My Journey
I write a lot of articles for companies that do things like train corporate personnel. One of the things they talk about a lot is setting goals, and one of the things that makes a goal viable is that it’s measurable. Well, I have no freaking clue how to measure ‘awesomness of dadditude’ — but I figure that by leaving behind a pretty clear trail of my trials and tribulations, I’ll be able to look back in a few years and be like “Wow, I sucked…glad I got better!” At least, that’s the plan.
My Commitment to Being a Father
I wrote on Facebook when I posted the first post of this blog that I was going to write every Monday until I ran out of things to learn. I did that because I know that if I get started and then I stop, someone out there will call me on it.
(Cheater Alert: I don’t actually write these things every Monday. I write whenever something occurs to me and then I schedule the articles weeks ahead. It’s currently the 6th and I have posts scheduled out to the 26th. Behold, the cleverings of a professional Internet content producer.)
Point being, this entire blog is like that promise — it’s a promise to the world that I am and will continue to be a good father, writ large enough that I hope and pray should I fail, at least one of you paying attention will call me on it.
So, yes. This blog is a lot of things. It may occasionally stroke my ego when someone posts a comment, and it may in fact give me a place to vent a little — but none of those things are the important things. They’re not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this for one simple reason: I love my son.
Also, all that other stuff I mentioned, but mostly the love.